Culture in Utah-Going, going...

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Ralph
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Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:43 am

slweekly.com:

Art Failure
by Eric D. Snider

The Utah Symphony & Opera is in financial trouble, and though no one is pointing fingers, the fact is, it’s your fault. And I mean you, Corlyss Drinkard, ex-urbanite now homesteading in our great state.

You see, both the symphony and the opera—which combined in 2002 into one entity—rely on what’s called an “audience” to make money. They sell what are known as “tickets” to patrons who then sit in chairs and listen to and/or watch the performances. The company gets donations and grants, too, but they still depend on those elusive “audiences” for a large portion of their income.

Attendance has been down lately, and no one is sure why. Some say producing lesser-known 20th-century operas such as Jenufa, which is full of music yet contains not a single hummable tune or catchy theme, and which features a woman being slashed in the face with a knife, and which isn’t in one of the acceptable opera languages (French, Italian or German) but in Czech, scares audiences away. Others say advertising and promotions have not been up to par, and that not even conductor Keith Lockhart’s appearance fully nude in Playgirl could entice new audience members.

But I think the real problem is not the material, or the way it’s promoted, but the simple fact that for the most part, people don’t go to the symphony or the opera. Oh, sure, some do. Some even go often. But most people don’t see more than one or two operas in their entire lives, and attend the symphony only slightly more often. Some "music lovers," like Ms. Drinkard, basically just talk about music online. Not much more.

When you’re trying to convince someone that a particular city is nice, it’s always the artsy things you mention. “My heavens, Salt Lake City is a fine city!” you’d say. “It has some great museums, and a world-class symphony!” And it’s true, we have those things, but do you ever go to them? No. (Neither do I, but we’re talking about you here, not me.) Instead, those things languish on the outskirts of profitability, kept alive by generous donations and by the few people who actually patronize them.

The thing is, I’m not sure we really deserve fine art anyway. Last month US& produced Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an opera that has the added difficulty of being based on a Shakespeare play. Not to suggest that certain Utahns are yokels who put on their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes and spray their hair up real high when it’s time to go to the ahpruh, but there were some embarrassing specimens at the performance I attended. For example, after some reveling had taken place in the fairy-inhabited woods onstage, the man behind me remarked to his female companion, in a “whisper” loud enough for all around him to hear, “It looks like a fraternity house the morning after a party.”

Now, leaving aside the idiocy of pointing out that a scene depicting the aftermath of a party looks, in fact, like the aftermath of a party, what happened to this man that made him think it was OK to talk during the opera? A blow to the head? A viral infection during infancy? The man made other comments over the course of the show, too, and I hope he is reading this so that he will know what a jackass he is.

That’s assuming he even has the class to read an artsy publication such as this, which I should point out is kept alive by generous donations—of time—from readers like you.
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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:26 pm

Where have you gone, Maurice Abravanel?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Ooo ooo ooo).
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
"Maestro Moe has left and gone away." (Hey hey hey)

Maybe Utah needs another conductor like Maurice Abravanel: someone who is excellent, makes it his home, and has a mission bring music to the people. According to the Maurice Abravanel web site, in 1947 when he began his 32-year tenure as Music Director of the Utah Symphony Orchestra, "Utah was one of the poorest states, with no tradition of philanthropy towards the arts. Yet under Maurice Abravanel leadership Utah became the state with the highest rate of concert attendance."

Maybe this underscores one of the big differences between US and European audiences. In Europe, classical music seems to be in their blood, so concerts and operas are normal parts of their lives. In the United States, classical music is just another part of the entertainment industry, and must compete with other, often more flashy, productions. Thus the conductor must work hard to weave an orchestra into the fabric of the community.

Dave

David Stybr, Engineer and Composer: It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3
http://members.SibeliusMusic.com/Stybr

Coordinator, Classical Music SIG (Special Interest Group) of American Mensa

Life and Afterlife: Four Elegies for Soprano and Orchestra
http://www.SibeliusMusic.com/cgi-bin/sh ... reid=57666

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Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:14 pm

And Abravanel was a Jew in the Land of the Mormons to boot. :) :)

I think we need to sponsor some Music Missionaries to at least match those the Church of Latter Day Saints dispatches to all parts of the U.S.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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Mission Immusical

Post by karlhenning » Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:35 pm

Mr Ralph, there are two very nicely dressed violists here to see you ....
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

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Re: Mission Immusical

Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 22, 2005 3:16 pm

karlhenning wrote:Mr Ralph, there are two very nicely dressed violists here to see you ....
*****

I love violists! :)
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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Post by Guest » Fri Apr 22, 2005 4:09 pm

Give them a cup of tea.

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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:06 pm

slweekly.com wrote:
Art Failure
by Eric D. Snider

The Utah Symphony & Opera is in financial trouble, and though no one is pointing fingers, the fact is, it’s your fault. And I mean you, Corlyss Drinkard, ex-urbanite now homesteading in our great state.
I did not do it! Parroting my good friend Ken Ariotti, of the Bountiful Ariottis, I tol' 'em it was a big mistake to merge the two organizations. But I knew "they listen to me . . . and then do what they please . . . " as his sainted grandpa would say in his thick Italian accent.
Ralph wrote:And Abravanel was a Jew in the Land of the Mormons to boot.
And very much beloved here too. They almost wouldn't let him go . . .
Nigel wrote: Give them a cup of tea.
Don't drink tea. Try hot chocolate or root beer. Add fresh warm brownies and you will not be able to get rid of them.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:12 pm

Hot chocolate is for cold weather, tea is always in order.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:15 pm

Ralph wrote:Hot chocolate is for cold weather, tea is always in order.
Mormons don't drink tea or coffee or any other caffeinated beverage (except hot chocolate and don't ask cuz I have no idea). A Mormon kid's idea of rebellion is to sneak a pepsi or coke now and then.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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Post by Auntie Lynn » Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:34 pm

When you ask for a glass of white, they think you mean milk...

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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Guest » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:24 am

Corlyss_D wrote:Don't drink tea.
Oh, come on, Corlyss, you know me by now. I know they don't drink tea. But I make a point of being offensive to believers. That's why I wrote it.

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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:39 am

npwparis wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:Don't drink tea.
Oh, come on, Corlyss, you know me by now. I know they don't drink tea. But I make a point of being offensive to believers. That's why I wrote it.
:wink:
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Guest

Post by Guest » Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:25 am

Perhaps tea with what my father used to call "brown sugar": whisky.

Ralph
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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:26 am

npwparis wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:Don't drink tea.
Oh, come on, Corlyss, you know me by now. I know they don't drink tea. But I make a point of being offensive to believers. That's why I wrote it.
*****

Yep, no caffeineited drinks. Now as to multiple wives...
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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 23, 2005 11:12 am

Ralph wrote: Now as to multiple wives...
It was the perfect solution to the natural randiness of the male of the species . . .
Corlyss
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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:05 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote: Now as to multiple wives...
It was the perfect solution to the natural randiness of the male of the species . . .
*****

And polyandry...women don't have that same disposition?
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Re: Culture in Utah-Going, going...

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:44 pm

Ralph wrote:And polyandry...women don't have that same disposition?
Not really. Women are genetically wired to seek the best provider for their children. There is a certain stability component to that search. It's not that we don't screw around. It's that in the context of seeking the best provider, security is to be had in not making the provider so insecure in his parentage that he kills the kids. Animals, including humans, who doubt they are the fathers of "their" offspring frequently kill the offspring.

Men are just looking to spread their genes around and genetically they don't much care whether they upset one or all of the women because they know the women won't kill the kids. It's as simple as that. May be lots of social norms and rules around the respective behaviors, but those are the two core considerations.

And this isn't just human behavior. It's not species specific. It happens in the animal world too.
Corlyss
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Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:23 pm

Hmmm. I've seen too many promiscuous female felines to belive your take.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:29 pm

Ralph wrote:Hmmm. I've seen too many promiscuous female felines to belive your take.
Have you also seen the alpha toms kill the offspring?
Corlyss
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Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:50 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:Hmmm. I've seen too many promiscuous female felines to belive your take.
Have you also seen the alpha toms kill the offspring?
*****

That doesn't happen in New York.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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